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29 Nov 2007 : Column 605Wcontinued
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the effects on the public purse of costs arising from removing the tolls from the two Severn bridges; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: No estimate has been made of the effects on the public purse of costs arising from removing the tolls from the two Severn bridges.
Current legislation allows the concessionaire for the Severn Crossings to charge tolls until a defined amount has been collected from the tolling regime. At that time, the Severn Crossings will revert to the ownership of Government. There are no plans to terminate the concession agreement in advance of this. Current estimates are that ownership of the Crossings will revert to Government in 2016.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of the Severn Bridge toll arrangements on traffic flows (a) east and (b) west on the A48 in Gloucestershire. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: No recent assessments have been made by the Highways Agency of the impact of the Severn Bridge toll arrangements on traffic flows eastbound and westbound on the A48 in Gloucestershire.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will urge South West Trains to replace the Desiro Class 450 units on the Portsmouth to London services in the interests of passenger comfort. 
Mr. Tom Harris: I have no plans to do so.
The introduction of the Class 450s to the Stagecoach South Western Franchise (SSWT) has meant that older trains have been replaced with newer stock. This has led to an increase in overall capacity allowing greater numbers of passengers to have a seat during their journey.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the outcomes were of meetings held between her Department and Transport for London as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review about (a) their future funding needs and (b) liabilities they may face as a result of Metronets entry into administration. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: As a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Department for Transport has agreed a settlement with TfL through to 2017-18, which reflects the expected increased costs of the PPP going forward and makes provision for costs arising from Metronets Administration. The agreed levels of funding and borrowing are:
|£ million (cash)|
|TfL grant||TfL borrowing|
Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to commemorate the 70(th) anniversary of the setting of the world steam record. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The railway heritage movement has a number of events planned to mark the 70(th) anniversary of the setting of the world speed record for steam traction.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to encourage car-sharing clubs. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department encourages car sharing both directly, as one of a range of measures (known collectively as smarter choices) aimed at helping people travel more sustainably, and indirectly, through encouraging local authorities to include car-based initiatives as part of their local transport strategies.
The Department also publishes a range of best practice guidance on work and school travel planning that include car share schemes. In 2005, we published Making Car Sharing and Car Clubs Work and Making Smarter Choices Work.
Government initiatives such as (a) requiring travel plans for new developments, (b) the National Business Travel Network and (c) the Travelling to School project are increasing the number of workplaces and schools with travel plans.
Car share schemes are being set up nationally by commercial operators, by local authorities for their staff or the wider public and by businesses, schools and other organisations as individual initiatives or as part of a travel plan.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much was spent on transport in (a) England, (b) London and the South East and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber in each of the last five years; 
(2) what projections she has made of public spending on transport what projections in (a) England, (b) London and the South East and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber in each of the next five years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Figures for identifiable public spending, and spending per head, on transport by region and country are given in the following tables. No projections are made for the next five years on this basis. A regional breakdown of the Department's past spending and future spending plans is produced annually, and published in the Department's Annual Report and in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses produced by the Treasury and the Office of National Statistics. These documents are normally published in April or May.
|£ per head|
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking with the Department for Children, Schools and Families to encourage children to cycle to school. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department works closely with DCSF on the joint Travelling to School project, which encourages all forms of sustainable travel to school.
This project has been going since April 2004. Its funds enable local authorities to employ a network of around 250 school travel advisers and regional school travel advisers to work with schools to help them develop and implement school travel plans. Over 14,000 schools have already developed travel plans. It also supports capital grants for schools with travel plans which can be spent on, for example, cycle facilities.
In addition, we are supporting cycling to school by promoting Bikeability, the new National Standard cycle training scheme. Through Cycling England, we are investing £1.8 million this year alone in cycle training via local authorities and the Youth Sports Trust. We have also provided £16.2 million for the Links to Schools programme and £1.6 million for the Bike It scheme which works with schools to increase the number of young people cycling. These all contribute to the overall Travelling to School project.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in work undertaken by her Department and Transport for London to ensure that Oyster cards are compatible with the Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation standard. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Oyster cards are the responsibility of the Mayor for London and it is therefore for him to consider, in the first instance, issues around compatibility with the ITSO standard. However, the Department for Transport continues to work closely with Transport for London to ensure the delivery of Oyster pay-as-you-go on national rail in London and that ITSO smartcards can be accepted by smartcard readers on the Transport for London estate. A detailed design study is on track to deliver a fixed price and delivery schedule for the roll-out of ITSO/Oyster dual-operable smartcard readers in April 2008.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers in England received incorrect payments under the 2006 single payment scheme. 
Jonathan Shaw: It is not currently possible to give a definitive number of farmers in England who received incorrect payments under the 2006 single payment scheme.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in making payments to farmers under the Single Farm Payment Scheme. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 26 November 2007]: The Secretary of State reported on 2 July 2007 that RPA had met its formal target for 2006 Single Payment Scheme payments.
The payment window for the 2007 scheme opens on 1 December 2007.
The Agency, with DEFRAs full support, is working towards making more full payments to more farmers earlier than last year, with a view to meeting its formal targets of making 75 per cent. of full payments by end of March 2008 and 90 per cent. by end of May 2008.
Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what Veterinary Laboratories Agency experiments have been conducted on cows fed with BSE infected material in the last 20 years; and what the results were. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 27 November 2007]: No studies have ever been conducted by VLA in which cattle were fed with BSE infected material.
Seven individual experiments have been conducted at VLA that involved the oral dosing of cattle with bovine brain tissue known to be infected with the BSE agent. The material, in the form of a suspension, was administered directly on to the back of the tongue with a syringe. These studies represent three clusters of experiments, with individual experiments within each cluster being related in terms of the objectives of the investigations conducted.
Two experiments investigated the susceptibility of calves to oral challenge to different doses of brain tissue, ranging from 300g to 1mg. A correlation was recognised between dose and the incubation period, but infection was achieved at all dose levels. Below a dose of 100g however, not all exposed calves became infected, and the efficiency of transmission declined with reducing dose. Although incomplete, data from these studies were published recently(1).
Three other experiments investigated the pathogenesis of BSE in cattle, although the latest, and largest, was primarily intended to provide tissues and fluids at varying time points in the incubation period to enable the evaluation of diagnostic tests. These studies involved the sequential slaughter of cattle, and collection of tissues, during the incubation period, from shortly after exposure to the point of clinical disease. There have been several publications that have described the scientific outcomes of the first pathogenesis study, but the most recent(2) summarises all previous results. Additional data from a smaller study, and an opportunistic evaluation of data from the largest pathogenesis study, have also been published recently(3, 4, 5).
The last two experiments were established to enable the collection of fluids, such as blood samples, during the course of the incubation period to enable their investigation as potential targets for diagnosis of BSE before onset of clinical disease. These transpired to be negative studies, not only in terms of tests investigated at VLA but also when materials were shared with other researchers. As a result, there have been no scientific publications related to these studies.
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